I’ve been adding photographs from my extensive archives to this website recently, and have just compiled a gallery of sadhu pictures. These are the fascinating holy men (and occasionally women, known as sadhvis) of India who tend to reject normal life in favour of a nomadic, spiritual one. Generally they tend to wear a shade of orange or red or, in the case of the Nagar Babas, nothing at all other than a layer of white charcoal and lots of holy beads.
I was fortunate enough to have spent time with some of these mystical men, both along the ghats of the river Ganges in Varanasi, and in an akhara (head ashram) based there. I was invited to bandharas (communal meals) and to join them at ceremonies such as Holi. It will be one of the most memorable experiences of my time in India.
I’m including a selection of the images here, showing different facets of their life (and death). But there are plenty more, so if they grab your interest do take a look at the gallery: https://anenchantedeye.com/portraits/sadhus-indias-holy-men/
4 thoughts on “Sadhus – the holy men of India”
So many memorable images. The body on the river bank came as quite a shock when I realised what it was. Certainly I agree with Tim about the man with the goat. The first image, with its framing and desaturated look is a winner, but my favourite is the man on top of the ghat and surrounded by birds. Just perfect.
These are really stunning images. You’ve caught their intensity and in a few cases their sense of humor. I particularly the one with the Sadhus ready to walk down the stairs with the goat. The highlights of his robe against the darker wall makes him stand out. Thanks for putting these together.
Thanks Tim. The one of the sadhu on the steps with the goat is my favourite so I’m glad you liked that one!
I’m pleased that we continue to agree. Have a great day.